A Year in Review: gems from 2016

Every year at this time I review my journals as I complete the year and make space for what’s next.

2016 was a year of growth and satisfaction, as well as challenge and grief. Writing these notes to myself was an opportunity to acknowledge it all.

I share these 108 insights with my deepest wish that they resonate and remind us all that even the most challenging times have gems.

 


 

1. Truth communicates through the body. Pay attention.

2. Freedom is always calling.

3. Obligation kills joy.

4. Write yourself a permission slip to do whatever the hell you want.

5. Whisper good things to yourself before bed.

6. Your words create your world.

7. Life is reciprocal. Pay attention to what you put out.

8. Expansion is inevitable.

9. Splurging now and then is necessary.

10. Celebrate the future before it happens.

11. Your preferences create your reality.

12. Pay attention to the details.

13. You can be as big as you want.

14. Practice displaces procrastination.

15. It’s not luck when you earn it.

16. Your willingness to risk leads to change.

17. The truth is usually right in front of you.

18. Your core desired feelings are beacons.

19. Chaos always accompanies change.

20. Be involved in a way that feels good.

21. Let go of what no longer serves you.

22. There’s no substitute for doing the work.

23. You are the source of your own aliveness.

24. Get over your need for instant gratification.

25. Vibrate how you feel.

26. Blocks are temporary; don’t make them mean anything.

27. Your desires come from the part of you connected to your soul.

28. Liberation requires courage and heart.

29. Forgive yourself and move on.

30. Practice what you love.

31. Don’t be afraid to burn bright.

32. Listen for resonance.

33. Walk away from drama.

34. Make choices that feel good.

35. You really have no idea what you’re capable of.

36. Turn down the noise and you’ll hear something new.

37. The more you tell your new story, the more real it becomes.

38. When possibilities flow, surf.

39. Trust the healing.

40. Surrender to the fire that burns inside.

41. Intention must be followed by action for change to occur.

42. Be on your own side cheering madly.

43. Include everything.

44. Start over. Again.

45. Become a light for others.

46. Change your mind.

47. Make more promises to yourself.

48. Your comfort zone is made up.

49. Face what you’re most afraid of.

50. You’ll find evidence for anything you believe. Continue reading

Zero Judgement, All Love

Zero Judgement

Shit happens. Unexpected upsets occur. People let you down.

React or respond.

Shut down or share your truth.

One truth is, you always have a choice.

Those moments of challenge life hands us are opportunities to grow. Even when they suck.

Some days the urge is strong to shut down, protect myself, and say, fuck it, I’ve had enough.

Those are the moments that shake me to the core, and remind me that I get to choose how I want to live my life.

No one else has a say, including people who love me.

I do not want to live a shut down life.

I will not trade my passion and self-expression for safety and security.

It is the cause of dis-ease, which I’m sure given enough time becomes disease of a more common kind.

I choose to live consciously, as awake and open as I can.

My choice to live the way I want requires no approval.

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” 

Emile Zola’s words resonate, squeeze my heart, and remind me of something I’ve known for a very long time.

I am here to live out loud.

Unapologetically, free to choose, moment by moment.

Today choose love.

Love the upset. Love the people. And most of all, love yourself more.

Zero judgement, all love.

Imagine the possibilities.

 

Freedom Always Follows Truth

Freedom always follows truth

Today, like most days, I pulled two cards to start my day.

My go-to deck of Truthbombs reminded me of something I’ve forgotten in the busyness of the past few months.

Freedom always follows truth.

And then, because it seemed I needed a second reminder, truth-telling came up in an interview, and I heard myself say how vital it is to my life and work.

Dear Universe, I got the message, loud and clear.

In that moment, I realized it was time to come clean, to tell the truth about what I want – now, at this moment in my life.

Not last year, not even six months ago. Now.

What I want might take a little ruthless compassion focused on the woman in the mirror. And it might take making changes to my schedule, stretching me out of my comfort zone yet again.

That’s the truth that’s been niggling at me, and also what I’ve avoided.

Because really, do I have to keep growing and expanding myself?

Yes, I do. I am clear that’s part of my work in this lifetime.

How do I know this is true? Because I suffer when I stop growing. I suffer when things become stagnant, routine, and draining.

And more importantly, I thrive when I’m challenged to grow.

It’s not that difficult to tell the truth.

Telling the truth feels so damn good. Have you noticed?

It’s the feeling of sweet relief; a kind of grace that washes over me, a balm to my soul.

If it feels so good, why don’t we do it more often?

Because no one wants to look bad.

“Hey there, let me tell you how I lied to myself and got through it.” – Said no one ever.

Sometimes, lying looks like not telling the whole truth, and then we rationalize it away because it’s not like we actually lied.

Except we did.

To ourselves, and holy fuck, there’s a wake-up call.

Wake up to the truth.

In that interview I spoke of forgiveness, and how it relates to self-compassion. It’s easy to get caught up in self-recrimination when we slip from our commitments, and veer away from the truth.

But what if instead we simply acknowledge what’s there?

No judgement, all love.

The truth is I want writing to be where I turn to work things out and create; not a sometime event linked to a looming deadline.

The truth is I want my business to reach more people; and I want that more than I want to believe the old stories about how it’s not possible.

And the truth is I love the busyness that sometimes gets in the way.

I love having my time and energy focused on projects and goals that will, in some way, change the world.

But that truth felt too big, too audacious, too fucking huge for me to admit.

The truth is I want all of this, and more.

 

And suddenly… sweet relief, and freedom.

No judgement, all love.

 

Let Go of What You Know

 

Let Go, image of balloon

 

I used to know (and was pretty damn sure of) what I wanted in life.
Now, I know what I want most is to feel love and freedom whatever I’m doing.

I used to believe in fairness and justice.
Now, I believe they are less important than how I show up whatever comes my way.

I used to think knowledge was power.
Now, I think practicing what you know is the most transformative habit in life.

I used to be fearful of who I could be, who I might become.
Now, I know I am that and so much more.

 

Letting go of old beliefs is powerful. It makes room for what’s important.

Today. Not ten, twenty, thirty years ago.

Now.

Let go of what you know and make room for the now.

Some days life is much simpler than we think.

 

*Writing prompt from Amy Palko and her divine Goddess Guidance group.

 

A Surprise in the Mail

Unleashed

Dear One,

In case you’ve forgotten, I’m sending this note to remind you that you are a shining, beloved soul.

Your gifts are many and your willingness to keep exploring and doing the work is inspiring.

I see you sometimes, so burdened by doubt and it breaks my heart. Who I see when I look at you is an extraordinary being who is all heart and commitment.

Unleashed. Fired up. And free.

This is who you are for yourself, and others.

love

Sandi Amorim signature

 

I wrote this note to myself at a workshop I attended a few months ago, no idea when it would be sent.

It came on a day I was beating myself up for not sticking to my writing schedule; self-recrimination and guilt eating away at me until I saw my handwriting on the envelope.

I tore it open, and felt the tears immediately, moved by what I had written so many months before.

A little self-love at exactly the right moment.

Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

No one is immune.

The Year of Living 50

 

People keep asking me if I’m freaked out about turning 50 this year. I’m not really, although perhaps a wee bit surprised by some of the thoughts going through my mind.

I mean, turning 50 really is the mother of all wake-up calls!

And I’ve caught myself thinking about all the things I still want to be, do and have in my life.

All the things I want to create and share.

All the ways I want to open further, deeper, more fully.

All the hugs still to give, kisses to be savoured, and well. . .you get the point.

Those are the things I’m putting my attention on as I begin living my fiftieth year.

Not the 50 lessons I may or may not have learned.

Not 50 tips to look and feel good at 50 (although all this juicing and healthy living looks good on me!)

No tips, lessons, or strategies.

Instead, I’m choosing to open.

close up of rose unfurling, metaphor for turning 50

Because we do have a choice; to open or to close ourselves off.

One is energizing and risky. The other is tight, and oh so painfully safe.

I get to choose. And so do you.

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A Deva Tale (includes a damsel, a villain and a talisman)

 

What do you do when you realize you’ve been resisting what you’re here for?

Maybe you hide out with busy work.

Or stop writing.

Or say yes to shiny new projects that are mostly distractions from…

what you’re here for.

I get it. I feel your pain. And enough is enough.

That’s what I said to myself recently!

I said, “Self, it’s time to stop resisting. It’s time to remember your intention. It’s time to get on with owning your awesome!” 

My Self quivered at this vociferous demand, challenged to find the words to share what’s been going on.

Because you know, I wanted to find the RIGHT words. Which is just another way of holding myself back and waiting for my own…wait for it…someday.

Yes, I know I’m on a mission to obliterate someday thinking from the face of the earth.

Gah. I hate outing myself.

But apparently Self needed a public bitch slap, which is why I’m about to tell this tale.

Let’s go back to the beginning, for sharing the details of how it’s been is always better than waiting for the perfect words someday.

 

Once upon a time there was a wildly enthusiastic woman with a passion for helping others. She did what she had to do to become skilful in her chosen profession, she launched her business with zeal, and she hustled.

She hustled because she loved her work. She fell in love with her perfect people; they lit her up with their enthusiasm and commitment to living life fully.

Then one day something changed, although she had no idea at first what it was.

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Misadventures on the Road to Hana

palm trees, Kihei, Maui

Even in paradise it’s possible to have a bad day because wherever you go there you are.

 

It’s easy to think if you’re on vacation in a beautiful setting you should be blissfully happy the entire time you’re there! Except. . .that would be a recipe for disappointment, as this recent adventure reminded me.

The day started off well. A picnic lunch was packed, the gas tank was full, and good spirits were in abundance as my husband, my mother-in-law and I began the infamous drive known as the Road to Hana; stunning in the way that only Maui can be. Everywhere I looked a photo-op awaited.

Sunshine, great company, and a gorgeous setting – a perfect day in paradise.

And then the first incident occurred to disrupt this ‘perfect’ day.

At one of the stops along the way we got out to take photos and stretch our legs. I spotted a cat stretched out in the sun and then another up further ahead, taking me by surprise as we had seen no cats anywhere in Maui. Distracted by these wild felines and the lush rainforest around me, I paid no attention to where I was stepping and in a split second I tumbled down a slippery wet slope of grass.

Not what I would have hoped for my first experience of a mud bath! I was however, quite proud of how I fell, ensuring that the hand holding my iPhone stayed well above the mud now covering every inch of my backside.

There was no point in pretending it hadn’t happened; did I mention this was a tourist destination? So off I waddled in my mud soaked shorts hoping I could wash most of it off in the restroom.

Insight #1: I realized had this happened a few years ago I would have felt humiliated and quite possibly it could have ruined my day. Instead I was able to joke and laugh with the women who’d seen me fall. There I was in a roadside restroom with no paper towels covered in mud with no spare clothes laughing at myself in that sheepish way we can all relate to at one time or another. Women brought me paper towels, asked if I needed anything, made jokes, called me a flasher (I’d taken off my shorts to rinse them out in the sink) and most of all offered support.

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How Uncertainty Became My CEO

 

The Aloha Guest Posts: While I’m away on vacation a few of my extraordinary friends will be keeping the fire stoked, sharing their wisdom and enthusiasm for living out loud. First up is Padma Maxwell of Get Your Thrive On who’s walking her talk, following her own dreams wherever they take her and as you’ll see she’s not always sure where that is!

 

Uncertainty consistently showed up at my door unexpected and uninvited. Yet, when I’d open the door, she didn’t say anything, she just stared at me. She was by far the most unsocial and unfriendly neighbor I had. I was always intimidated when I’d see her and unsure how to even hold a conversation with her.

She’d sit on her front porch watching the neighborhood go about their routines with a glare of “I told you so” in her eyes.

One afternoon, I was struggling with some heavy machinery in my garden and no one offered to help, except for Uncertainty. She came to my aid and devised an alternate solution to tilling my flowerbed. She was silent but offered her full attention and effort.

I had no idea how hard Uncertainty was willing to work to help out a stranger.

So, I invited her over for a home-cooked meal.  After a bottle of Cab Sauvignon, I shared with her my secret idea for a documentary project.

woman made of puzzle piecesI was a little embarrassed because it was after all, just an idea; a crazy one at that.

I knew nothing about films, cameras or managing a project.

She didn’t laugh or tell me how unrealistic it was going to be to pull it off.

Quite shockingly, her response were four words that changed my life. . .

“Let’s do this together.”

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How to Live in Astonishment (leaf lesson #3)

 

We all have a dark side; a part of ourselves that we wish were otherwise.

Even the nicest of the nice, they’ve got their shadow side too.

But whatever you call it, however much you try to hide it, there’s something to learn from it if you look.

Just like this leaf, which I’m starting to think of as the leaf that keeps on giving. Weird thing is, when I first chose the leaf I completely missed the big dark spot you’ll see below.

It was hidden from my view.

How could I have missed that big, dark spot?

It was easier than you might think. I was so wrapped up in the colour and size, the majesty of it – I had eyes only for its beauty.

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